If we are what we Google, then Google Hot Trends — an hourly rundown of search terms “that experience sudden surges in popularity” — is the Web’s best cultural barometer. Here’s a sampling of today’s top searches. (Rankings on Hot Trends list current as of 9 a.m.)
No. 5: “Megan Wants a Millionaire Winner.” Actually, there will be no winner on VH1’s reality TV show, “Megan Wants a Millionaire.” Accusations that Ryan Jenkins, one of the show’s finalists, murdered his wife, former swimsuit model Jasmine Fiore, led to the “indefinite postponement” of the program . VH1 has canceled any future airings, removed all links and photos from its Web site , and made all previously aired videos unavailable on iTunes. Questions have arisen about VH1’s casting procedures after it was revealed that Jenkins has a prior history of assault.
No. 42: “boycott Scotland.” A Scottish justice’s decision to release Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi, the terrorist behind the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, has prompted a “boycott Scotland” campaign. Bloggers are encouraging people to cancel any pending travel plans to Scotland and to stop buying Scottish products. Visit Boycottscotland.com for more information.
No. 55: “Hermann Ratjen.” Allegations that South Africa’s Caster Semenya is really a man instead of a woman have led to an uptick in searches for Hermann “Dora” Ratjen, the only verified case of gender cheating in Olympics history. As the story goes, at the request of the Nazi Youth movement, Hermann entered the competition for the Women’s High Jump at the 1936 Berlin Summer Olympics as “Dora.” Ratjen won the event, but was later outed by two women who spotted him with a five o’clock shadow. After he was exposed, Ratjen stated , “For three years I lived the life of a girl. It was most dull.”
Photograph of Hermann “Dora” Ratjen courtesy of Deutsches Bundesarchiv (German Federal Archive) via Wikimedia Commons.